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LONDON:

BRADBURY, AGNEW, & co., PRINTERS, WHITEFRIARS.

828 59770 C 287

TO

EDMUND LAW LUSHINGTON,

M.A., LL.D., ETC.,

LATE PROFESSOR OF GREEK IN THE UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW,

# Dedicate this Book ;

NOT AS AN OFFERING WORTHY OF HIS ACCEPTANCE,

BUT THAT I MAY PLACE ON RECORD

MY GRATITUDE

FOR HIS TEACHING, HIS INFLUENCE, AND HIS EXAMPLE

PREFACE

THREE works bearing on the biography of Swift, appeared within the decade that followed his death. The first of these was the Remarks of Lord Orrery, who had known Swift only in his later years, and whose book consists chiefly of stilted literary criticism supplemented by scattered biographical details, The Remarks appeared in November, 1751 : and so great was the interest in the subject, that Lord Orrery has noted in his own copy of the book, that within a month of its publication, 7,500 copies had been sold.* It was followed by the anonymous Observations of Dr. Delany in 1754 : and by Deane Swift's Essay in 1755. Each of these works has its own value. Lord Oirery gives us a fairly vivid picture of Swift's manner

Delany speaks with the advantage of greater judgment, and longer personal intimacy: but his defence of Swift is somewhat cold and timid, and runs upon narrow and conventional lines. Deane Swift, with all his eccentricity, yet gives us not a few personal reminiscences of interest, mixed with much that is absurd.

Hawkesworth's Life followed in 1755; but although more complete as a biography than any of those already noticed,

in old age.

MS. Note by Lord Orrery in a copy of the Remarks now in the possession of Lord Cork.

it did little more than sum up in narrative form, the current accounts of Swift. The first Life of Swift that took its place in literature was that of Johnson, published among the Lives of the Poets in 1778. But such new material as he possessed, Johnson had previously given to Hawkesworth: he did not afford either the time or the labour necessary to elucidate difficulties, or study character: and even the vigorous and trenchant criticism for which the Life is valuable, is marred by the inveterate grudge which, for whatever reason, Johnson bore to Swift.

In 1784, the younger Sheridan wrote his Life of Swift. As a boy, he had known Swift in decay: as a boy, also, he had received from his father, reminiscences of their long friendship. In spite of the preternatural dulness, for which Johnson's well-known phrase has made him celebrated, Sheridan always labours to be honest; and even his distant recollection of what his father had told him, could not fail to give some interest to his story. But his Life brings us no nearer to the real Swift: gives us little insight into his character: and scarcely attempts to enter into his moods, or to discern the motives that give a clue to much of the mystery that gathers round him.

Scott, whose Life first appeared in 1814, was the first to deal in a broad and generous spirit with the character of Swift. Rapid and cursory as the biography often is, Scott's genius did more for Swift than many a workman of greater care and elaboration could have achieved. He opened up for the first time the human interest that gathered about the story, so long the theme of petty and one-sided judgments, so long measured by the narrow rules of sects and parties that Swift abhorred. He made it plain that the defence of Swift was no forlorn hope

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